Relays ruckus

Some reliable news on this subject would be welcome. This morning’s local daily reports that the new Hilton hotel downtown near the convention center, the hotel that taxpayer money did something to develop, has cancelled events planned there in connection with Texas Relays weekend. The article’s entitled “Plans for Relay parties fizzle out at hotel: Promoter suggests race played role in dispute; hotel says planner failed to meet requirements.”

The hotel management alleges that contract provisions weren’t honored; the promoter alleges otherwise. The reporter fails to say whether a copy of the contract was requested from either party to the dispute. Plug in “texas relays hotel” at Google news to get a link to the story and then use whatever phony sign-up you use to see the local daily’s subscription pages.

The site has been posting events and promotions for weeks; so has TheFirm; so has SoulCiti; so has TexasRelaysCelebrityWeekend (listing the cancelled Hilton events, plus others).

As the local daily noted, the actual Texas Relays track event has become almost beside the point for many. By the way, this is the first time that the local daily has devoted this much coverage to the social aspects of the Relays.

Catfish Station, where so much of it began, is long gone, but there’s still always a Catfish reunion somewhere, this year on Thursday and for the first time at the old location on Sixth Street, now Club Eternal.

I predict that there will be discussion of this matter on the Wake-Up Call on Monday morning (KAZI 88.7 FM radio, starting at 7 am).

It’s been a long time since I’ve planned an event. It used to be that the facility would, in exchange for a certain number of hotel rooms reserved, furnish complimentary meeting rooms, hospitality rooms, and additional facilities to the event, as negotiated, either at reduced rates or gratis, on the assumption that the guests in the rooms would be spending sufficient money to justify the other considerations.

Somewhere in the boilerplate language there were probably provisions relating to room capacity as determined by the fire marshal and perhaps also to paid security people at any venue where liquor was to be served.

This article contains declarations by the promoter that he had retained 17 security paople and planned to have 2,000 attendees. The hotel representative states that the contract requires an attendance cap of 1,300 people and provision of 40 security guards “from an agency that the hotel approves.”

As to the contract, it would not only be interesting to see what its provisions are but also to know how it compares to other contracts entered into by this hotel for social events intended to attract between 1,300 and 2,000 people. Are there any invidious distinctions?

The hotel spokespeople are reported to have declined comment regarding specific contract provisions but to have denied trying to implement last-minute changes. Why doesn’t somebody just produce the contract?

P.S. Here is the cancellation e-mail from the promoter. It would be interesting to know why the local daily did not quote from it more extensively.

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